Reading of British Medical Journal clears the air (not) on secondhand smoke |

Reading of British Medical Journal clears the air (not) on secondhand smoke

I was intrigued by John Gain’s Oct. 6 letter citing a British Medical Journal article in his argument against no-smoking laws.

Taking his suggestion I reviewed the article ( and found that the study authors, in addition to what Gain reported, also said:

n “Based on these findings, exposure to environmental tobacco smoke could not plausibly cause a 30 percent increase in risk of coronary heart disease S, although a 20 percent increase in risk of lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease could not be ruled out.

n “As expected, there was a strong, positive dose-response relation between active cigarette smoking and deaths from coronary heart disease, lung cancer, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

n “Widowhood was strongly correlated with smoking status of spouses, owing to the reduced survival of smokers.”

Unfortunately the authors only studied deaths, not illness or breathing discomfort, coughs, throat irritation, etc. (to say nothing of the lingering smell in clothing and hair) partially caused by a smoking environment.

As to Gain’s statement that this is a subject of choice, I agree – the choice of Summit County voters to ask/not ask the county commissioners for smoke free air in restaurants.

Can I choose that none of my high health insurance premiums or taxes be used to pay for smokers’ health problems? When can I choose that smokers pay their own medical bills, up to and including deathbed costs?

I hope Summit County voters choose to ask for a healthier dining environment for guests and employees. Then it won’t be government making a choice. Government would be making a change through voter choice.

Craig Suwinski


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